Matter, the new smart home standard, has delivered its first real tangible benefit. Google today announced that the Nest Thermostat can now work with Apple HomeKit, marking the first time that one of the best smart thermostats works natively with one of the best smart home hubs.
However, there's a big caveat to this announcement. Only the newer Nest Thermostat, and not the older (and more premium) Nest Learning Thermostat, will work with HomeKit. That's because the newer model is Matter-compatible, and the older one is not.
As we reported on a year ago, the Nest Learning Thermostat, along with the Nest Protect, are two of the products that were not on the company's Matter roadmap.
If you have a Nest Thermostat, you don't have to do anything; Google is automatically rolling out the update starting today, and should be completed within the next few weeks.
Other Google devices that can act as Matter hubs include Nest Wifi Pro, Google Home, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (1st & 2nd gen) and the Nest Hub Max. Unfortunately, they do not work with HomeKit. Baby steps, people.
Despite the fact that older Nest thermostats aren't compatible with Matter, the fact that the newer Nest Thermostat now works with HomeKit is the first real sign that Matter is finally here. For years, we've been promised a future where all of our smart home devices work together, no matter who made them.
Thus far, the relatively few smart home devices that have Matter activated haven’t been able to do anything radically different from before. If you wanted to use a Nest device on HomeKit, you needed to use a third-party smart home hub such as the Starling Home Hub.
While the Starling is still quite useful — you can use it to use Nest smart home cameras with HomeKit, something that isn't supported by either Apple or Google — it will be nice when such hacks are no longer needed.